Archive | September, 2011

Farewell to Vice President James P. Sheehan

Vice President James P. Sheehan

Vice President James P. Sheehan joined Towson University in January 2006, and in the more than five and a half years that followed, he drove the successful completion of a range of projects and initiatives. During Jim’s time on campus, the university undertook more than $425 million in capital construction; the operating budget increased by almost $80 million; and enrollment grew by more than 3,000 FTE while campus safety levels remained among the lowest in the University System of Maryland. Jim’s commitment to improving efficiency and driving progress remained steady throughout his tenure in spite of challenges from the economy. His ability to manage complex situations and confront tough decisions has served Towson well, and his presence on campus will be missed by many. Please join us in wishing Jim the best as he moves on to his new position at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

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A&F Department Receives Bank of America Grant

By Pam Gorsuch

Towson University has been awarded a $25,000 grant to expand financial education initiatives on campus. Funded by Bank of America, the grant will result in the expansion of free tax preparation services for the campus community.

The grant is the second one to be awarded to TU under the management of Professor Melissa Groves in the College of Business and Economics (CBE) and Mary Fortier in Student Financial Services. The first grant, a $25,000 award given to TU last summer, enabled the university to offer free tax preparation services through CBE on several Saturdays during the spring of 2011 and host the first FinanceFest, which offered students a multitude of financial resources, including free credit reports and financial advising. According to Mary, the second grant will enable the university to grow these types of programs.

“It’s allowing us to build upon the foundation of financial education services that the university offers,” Mary said. “We’re creating new technology-based financial literacy programs, establishing a peer coaching/mentorship program and expanding tax preparation services to add an additional site in the Administration Building.”

The grant is providing the resources to establish Mary’s office as a tax preparation site which will offer services on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Mary and other student and staff volunteers within her office will undergo tax training from the IRS this fall with the goal of having the services become available to students, faculty and staff around the beginning of tax season in mid-February. Services will be available by appointment to any member of the campus community with an income of less than $45,000 per year.

“Whereas before, we were only trained to provide assistance to citizens, the training we’re getting this fall will enable us to offer services to international students as well,” Mary said. “When you factor that in to the additional availability offered by the new site’s weekday schedule, I estimate that we’ll be able to at least double the number of people that we can assist in the preparation of tax returns.”

The tax training is being provided to Mary and the volunteers for free by the Baltimore Cash Campaign, which assists in identifying and establishing tax preparation sites on behalf of the IRS. The Campaign is a member of the Maryland Coalition for Financial Literacy (housed at TU) alongside Mary, Melissa, and Bank of America.

Mary’s office is still in need of volunteers to become a tax preparation advisor. Individuals interested in volunteering should contact Mary at x4-5269 or  Information on how to schedule an appointment for free tax services will be available on the Daily Digest and Financial Services website this spring.

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Campus Children Get a Lesson in Safety

By Pam Gorsuch

The traveling CARES (Children ARE Safe) Safety Center came to TU Thursday, September 29 to educate children at the campus Child Care Center on fire and home safety. The event was coordinated by Fire Safety Manager Paul Parrish in honor of Fire Safety Month, which is held during the month of September. Paul works in TU’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

The Safety Center is a 40-foot vehicle designed as a house on wheels. It contains a variety of exhibits that demonstrate child safety, including a mock oven, stairwell, bathtub and play area. When children enter the vehicle, they are met with two friendly guides who walk them through the exhibits and explain important safety practices in each area. The program concludes with a fire safety video that uses a fun cartoon format to teach children to stay away from hot or unsafe materials like tea kettles, curling irons and matches. According to Director of Environmental Health and Safety Larry Holbrook, the Center served a valuable purpose for the children.

“It was definitely a success,” Larry said. “It’s important to teach kids about safety practices when they’re young so that they become engrained in the kids’ minds and routines. You can’t start too early!”

The Center was created in 2004 as a partnership between Johns Hopkins, the Baltimore City Fire Department and other community agencies. Additional photos from the Center’s visit to Towson are below; you can find more information about the Center at

A look at the CARES Safety Center

The outside of the CARES Safety Center.

Children enter the center.

Children from the Child Care Center head into the truck.

A guide greets the kids.

A CARES guide shows the exhibits to the children and shares important safety information.

Safety exhibit

One of the safety exhibits demonstrates the dangers of touching pots and pans on the stove.

Safety video

After looking at the exhibits, the children sat down to watch a fire safety video with the guides.

Guides and Paul

Paul Parrish, who organized the Center’s visit to Towson, stands with the CARES guides.

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Top Five Fall Things to Do

  • With a schedule of big games against powerhouses like College Park plus an undefeated record so far in the season, all staff should put attending a Tigers football game high on their fall to-do list. See the schedule to figure out when you want to go.
  • Check out the deals on the faculty/staff bulletin board or put up an offer of your own. It’s a great place to share worthwhile personal initiatives/deals that can’t go in the Daily Digest!
  • Football gameIf you haven’t already read the Annual Report, do it now! Then share it with your colleagues outside the department—there’s no shame in bragging about the great things going on in A&F!
  • The Saturday Science Series is back this fall with a great line up of speakers and topics. Be sure to take the kids for an educational and cost-effective weekend activity.
  • If you haven’t already toured the new West Village Commons and CLA building, take the chance to do it this fall. The weather’s great, and you can pick up breakfast or lunch at the Commons while you’re out!
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Top Five Fall Dates to Remember

  • The annual A&F Tailgate will be take place Saturday, October 29 as the Tigers take on the University of Delaware. The game starts at 7 p.m.; additional information on the tailgate is forthcoming.
  • The 2011 USM Women’s Forum Conference will be held at the University of Maryland Baltimore on November 11, 2011. More information is available at
  • TU will celebrate Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday, October 19. Come to the Union for giveaways, informational displays and a recycling challenge!
  • The last day of fall 2011 classes is Wednesday, December 14. Exams will run from December 15 to 21, concluding the fall semester.
  • The upgrade schedule for the campus phone upgrade to Voice-over IP (VOIP) is now available. Take a look and mark down your upgrade date!
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Top Five Fall Deals

  • The University Store is chock-full of great deals this fall. From 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. September 23, ask any store cashier for a discount balloon and then pop it to get the discount inside on any one item! On September 30, get 20% off all regularly priced TU gear as the campus gets pumped up for the Maryland/Tigers football game. Finally, load up on Polos, dress shirts, ties, portfolios and other professional attire at the Dress for Success sale being held the week of November 3. With deals like this, there’s no reason not to show your Tiger pride in TU gear!
  • The annual Center for the Arts pottery sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. December 2 and 3 in CFA room 3012. Get great deals on pottery made by TU students and faculty.
  • Bill Bateman’s Bistro offers faculty and staff a 10% discount on menu items with a valid OneCard. Stop by for lunch or happy hour and enjoy the deal!
  • Download the FREE TU mobile app—it’s accessible for iPhone users now (just search for Towson U in the iTunes Store) and will be available for Blackberry and Android users in the coming weeks. Plus, did we mention it’s FREE?
  • Faculty and staff now have three choices for $5 Fridays. It’s offered at the all-you-can-eat facilities in Newell, Glen and the West Village Commons, so what are you waiting for? Enjoy a range of dishes for a great cost.
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Interim Vice President for Administration & Finance Appointed

By Pam Gorsuch

Mark Behm has been appointed as the Interim Vice President for Administration & Finance and Chief Fiscal Officer at Towson University following current Vice President James P. Sheehan’s departure September 30. The appointment was made by Interim President Marcia Welsh late last week.

Mark will officially begin his appointment Monday, October 3. In the role, he will oversee the progression of divisional initiatives until a formal search for the position can be completed.

A Maryland native, Mark worked at the University of Maryland Baltimore County for 32 years. He served as the Vice President for Finance and Administration at the school before retiring in 2005. Since retiring, he served as the Interim Vice President for Administration at Anne Arundel Community College. He holds an MBA from Loyola University.

James says that he has full confidence that Mark will do an excellent job.

“I’m certain that Mark’s experience, and particularly his history in the USM, will allow him to successfully bridge the transition between VPs,” he said.

Please help us extend a warm welcome to Mark!

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Campus Composting Program Expanding

By Pam Gorsuch

Next time you’re at $5 Fridays, take a second look at the food scraps you send back to the kitchen. They just might come back to campus as mulch.

This week, the university’s composting program was expanded to all major dining facilities on campus as part of a waste minimization effort jointly sponsored by Administration & Finance and Chartwells. The program will enable food scraps from the Glen Dining Hall, the University Union, and the West Village Commons to be diverted from the landfill. Sustainability Director Jack Nye believes the program will have a significant effect on reducing campus waste.

“Based on our projections, we estimate that between 190 and 280 tons

of organics can be diverted from the landfill annually as a result of this program,” Jack said. “That could potentially reduce campus carbon emissions by 210 to 315 tons each year.”

Food from all major campus dining facilities will now be composted.

The program is run in the dining facilities by Chartwells staff and serviced by Waste Neutral, who collects the separated food scraps from campus three times a week and returns 40 pounds of mulch for each ton of compost collected. Compost from the Newell Dining Hall, which piloted the program during the 2010-2011 academic year, averaged more than 250 pounds per day for a total of almost 25 tons. If those results are echoed across campus, the cost of the program may be deflected by the savings.

“Our goal is to get a net zero cost for the program, meaning that the cost of the service is balanced by the avoided costs of landfill tipping fees on the waste that would otherwise be produced, plus the avoided cost of the mulch that we get back,” Jack said. “We think that we’ll be able to achieve this by the second or third year of the program.”

In addition to the composting program, Dining Services is piloting a new recycling system aimed at reducing the waste from dining halls, and selling hot and cold reusable cups that can be used for discounted refills in all dining facilities.

For more information on green initiatives, go to

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Tip of the Month: Using nVision’s Drill Down Feature

If you find yourself needing to view or find transactions for a prior fiscal year that is no longer active, worry no more! All you need to do is run your DPL/NPL budget balance report with a 6/30 closing date for the fiscal year of your choice and then perform a drill down.

1)      Run your DPL/NPL report using a 6/30 fiscal year closing date for the fiscal year you desire (for example, 6/30/2011 would be the close date for FY 2011). Make sure to use the HTM format, not XLS.

2)      Open your report in Report Manager and then click on a blue hyperlink dollar amount. (Note: to retrieve the entire listing of transactions for the fiscal year, click on the Object 01-14 “Total expenses amount” under the “Fiscal Year To Date” amount column heading.

3)      The drill down option page will be displayed.  Click the “Run Drilldown” yellow button next to the “DEPT – Revenue & Expense Trans” option (see below). This will take you back to Report Manager.


4)      Click on the yellow “Refresh” button until you see your drill down report appear in the list.  When it appears, click the report to open it.

5)      The report will be in HTML format, but you can save that HTM file on your computer and then open it in Excel for future viewing.

Contact the PeopleSoft Financials Help Line at 410-704-5599 option 2 or psteam@towson.eduif you have any questions.

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Summer Vacations: A Local Escape

By Pam Gorsuch

With a heavy workload and her hands full at home, Special Assistant to the Vice President Amie Voith needed a break. For her 30th birthday, Amie and her fiancé Todd booked a weekend getaway to the Harbourtowne Resort in St. Michael’s.

They enjoyed a waterfront view of the Chesapeake Bay and the beautiful maritime landscape. Before taking on the tennis courts or spending the day at the pool, Amie and her fiancé started each morning lounging by the water sipping their coffee and reading.St. Michael's MD

“It was great to escape my daily routine and appreciate the small pleasures that my busy schedule does not allow for,” Amie said. “Relaxing was easy for once.”

In the evenings, the couple strolled down the brick streets of the historic town of St. Michael’s. They explored the charming little shops, sampled drinks at the Eastern Shore Brewing Company and indulged in fresh seafood meals.

“We had the chance to do activities that we do not get to do together too often,” Amie said. “It was just the right spot for fun and peaceful relaxation.”

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